back to article DHS accepts buggy Eye-o-Sauron™ border scan towers

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has accepted into service its first section of SBInet virtual border fence, but it clearly isn't very happy with the state of the new technology. DHS chieftain Michael Chertoff reportedly said he was "satisfied for now" with the new kit. Border Patrol Assistant Commissioner Jay …


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  1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Who would have thought of it!

    Radars triggering by rain? (we never watch the wheather reports now do we)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Typical Gov budgets

    "said it could go to $30bn "

    Why not just have a border guard about every couple of miles, proberbly work out cheaper and be more effective.

  3. Steve
    Paris Hilton

    That told him Chertoff

    I told the head of Boeing some time back, 'Look, I'm not, you know, you don't have a lock on this entire border'

    Or rather, it would have told him, if it had made any sense.

    PH Icon as even she can manage to string together a simple sentence.

  4. Steve

    Back of postcard calculation

    Thousands of miles of border (lets assume 3).

    $30 billion.

    That's a million $'s/mile, around $625 per metre.

    Employing a low paid ($30k/annum) Mexican immigrant to stand at every 100th metre with a rifle for 30 years would cost half as much, and that's just the installation cost of the towers, running costs, maintenance and all the ancillary equipment (Rangers in their humvee's with the equipment to show the data) will make the 30 year running costs much higher.

  5. Daniel

    because these kind of defence mistakes never get made, noooo ...

    "Chertoff said that acceptance of Project 28 did not mean that DHS was willing to be saddled with a hugely expensive white elephant by Boeing."

    noooo! of course not! how could such a thing happen? Defence contractors blagging up multi-gazillion dollar projects by assuring paranoid government types that "we have the tech, let us take care of it ...."!?!?

    20 years and many, many more gazillions later .... oh, and a few mating rabbits that accidentally triggered a SCUD missile attack ... I can almost read the headlines in advance.

  6. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    How many ways can it "look" at once?

    So if the radar cues up the optics, does that mean that once it has been distracted to look one way it is in boresight mode and effectively "blind" to anything else? If so, all the illegals would have to do is get a suitable distraction off to one side and then they could drive a bus past on the other whilst the border cops are zooming in to the COP view and trying to work out if it's another decoy....

    Radar capable of "seeing" enemy troops was all the rage a while back, I'm pretty sure Lewis mentioned recently that most militaries dropped it as unreliable and ineffective? I seem to remember our Army only use mortar-locating radar nowadays rather than the old chestpack radars.

  7. Murray Pearson

    Re: Postcard calc

    I love the idea of hiring illegal immigrants to work as border guards. What could POSSIBLY go wrong? Ha ha!

  8. Anonymous Coward


    This would work a lot more effectively if they attached a couple of miniguns to the things.

    We could then borrow them, stick a couple at the entrance to the channel tunnel and make you swipe your id card before passing them

  9. TeeCee Gold badge

    Re: Postcard calc (again)

    A recruitment drive would be simplified to: "Look the other way for a bit".....

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Decoys made with cardboard, sticks, twine and tinfoil - maybe $2 each

    Set up some ('some' being much more than several) Bhuddist-style prayer wheel wind-driven corner reflectors - with arms to provide appropriate amounts of Doppler - and the system will be so swamped that you'll actually see the towers fall over.

    AC for this one...

  11. Peter Simpson

    So...the electronic fence doesn't work any better than in 1968?

    Robert McNamara tried it in Vietnam, and it didn't work. But, hey, the tech *must* be better now...shouldn't it be? Well, at least it has been successful in transferring millions of tax dollars to Boeing.

  12. andy rock

    @ Steve

    I was also trying to make head or tale of whatever the hell the idiot was talking about! it worries me that such illiterate fools are in charge of such things.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    why not

    why not spend $30 billion doing up the side of Mexico closest to the border, create a call centre or two, a few dozen industrial sites, a few leisure parks. Sit back and have the Mexicans not want to go the states at all?

  14. yeah, right.

    get yer slops!

    So basically it's a subsidy to Boeing, using the towers as an excuse. This is the same country that bitches high and low about other governments subsidising their industries? The US government never ceases to amaze me at the sheer level of hypocrisy it can churn out per month.

    When are they putting the wireless lightning gun on these to automatically fire at anything it locates?

  15. Dave

    better idea

    adopt Boeing's Advanced Tactical Laser to mount on top o' the eye and fry ANYBODY trying to cross the border. Keep the mexicans out, keep the americans in. Everybody wins, and Boeing stock will soar to new highs.

  16. Chris

    RE: postcard calc

    If DHS hires enough Mexicans as border guards, there won't be any left to try to sneak in illegally. Of course that would then make their jobs redundant, so they'd get laid off, and try to sneak over the border to find work - as a border guard! (repeat ad infinitum).

    However, the calculation is off a bit. You'd need at least three shifts of $30k/year workers for each post.


  17. E


    How much you wanna bet the contractors all contributed heavily to Bush's reelection, and or his personally slush fund?

    $30e9, probably it won;t work, but even a 1% political kickback *will* work for Bush's cabal.

  18. heystoopid
    Black Helicopters

    Hmm , Blame Canada !

    Hmm , I always thought the bigger the fence to keep the unwashed masses and required slaves and serfs out of the country then the the easier it becomes to turn the country into one mass prison camp to prevent the locals from leaving and seeking a better life fleeing from the Union of the Soviet States of Amerika's perverted version of law and order in the land of the delusional paranoid and the imprisoned for life !

    Blame those evil but very free fun loving Canadians for this mess !

  19. Rick Brasche
    Black Helicopters

    instead of a virtual fence

    why not build a f**king real solid fence instead of some fake, virtual "Second Life" crap?! Concrete, razor wire, and solar powered high voltage. Quit screwing around with security-I don't see this "virtual' security crap being used around "important" stuff-banks, Saudi Princes, Hollywood d*ckweeds-they all use real, nasty security-usually backed up by thugs with guns. Crime, slavery, and terrorism are real problems and not some Web 2.0 wankerism! Why do so many of these politicians think a swiss cheese border is a good thing?

    Nevermind, it's that Fifth Column. Good job, Soviet Union! Looks like you won the Cold War after all.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    ...the eyes will at least be able to automatically post some video to YouTube. For Great Justice.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    anyone else see a new TV series in this

    Immigrants are swamping our borders! Quick, grab the BatLaser

  22. Scott Evil

    Does it detect planes?

    It needs to,as their technology in 2001 that was designed to missed 3 of them.

    I think you know the planes i speak of.

  23. Michael Benneyworth

    Canadian Border

    Lots of places where the border runs through towns in the East and here in BC there's Avenue 0 which has border markers in the ditch on the south side. Hope they put some up there and we can watch them spin until the heads fall off.

    Other thought, how well would these deal with wildlife, wind blown shopping bags or other detritus, moving trees? Would love to see how they "interpret" the COPs that are generated.

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